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When PR Disasters Aren’t Really Disasters

emergency-planWe live in an age of instant analysis, a world where our Attention Deficit Disorder culture means that we rarely take the time necessary to understand the long-term impacts of current events.

That certainly applies to our political landscape, but it also applies to the business world. In an environment in which investors only care about the next quarter’s earnings, it can be hard to step back and focus on the long-term implications of opportunities and challenges.

This is especially true in the world of public relations. Each December, I present a list of the year’s biggest PR disasters. Some are almost a year old, and others are only months – or even days – old. Truth be told, that is not nearly enough distance to understand what the full impact will be on a company.

Having something negative happen is just one piece of a complex public relations puzzle. How quickly and effectively a company responds to that challenge can be as or even more important than the actual issue that has arisen. Equally important is how much trust a company has earned in the past helping insulate it from long-term damage.

The Value of Responding to a Crisis Quickly and Effectively

Southwest Airlines is a great example. It recently announced that it lost about $100 million in revenue due to a decline in ticket sales because of the death of one of its passengers. That is an enormous short-term figure, but what is the long-term damage to the company? From an investor perspective, the company’s stock dropped a little more than 7 percent in the aftermath of the incident, but it has rebounded and is now up more than 12 percent compared to where it was before the incident.

Southwest suffered a “PR disaster,” but because it responded effectively and had already earned trust from the flying public, it has weathered the situation well. The management team may be on a shorter leash, but even $100 million in lost revenue is a momentary blip, at least to long-term investors.

Next time you hear that a company has suffered a PR disaster, understand the context. Usually it means that a company has experienced a terrible incident. It doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. Philosophers have argued that the measure of a person is not whether they face challenges, but in how they respond. That is true with companies as well. Like Southwest, Toyota, Sony, Netflix, Apple, Volkswagen, Wells Fargo and United have all suffered “PR disasters” in the recent past, and all have managed to climb their way back. That is the power of having a strong crisis plan and responding quickly and effectively.

Jeremy Story is a Vice President at GroundFloor Media, where he co-leads the firm’s Crisis, Reputation and Issues Management practice. He has more than 20 years of experience helping companies ranging from start-ups to the Fortune 100 prepare for, manage, and recover from crisis issues.

How to Speak Designer: 5 Phrases to Avoid When Speaking With Creatives

How to speak designer: 5 phrases to avoid when speaking with creatives | By Ben Hock at CentertableIn March I wrote about basic graphic design terms that clients should know before speaking with their designer. I’m always impressed by clients who use design terms appropriately, because, more often than not, people use graphic design terms incorrectly, which can lead to projects that go awry. In this follow-up, I’ve compiled a list of phrases that make designers cringe, along with advice on alternatives so your next creative project starts off smoothly. Read more after the jump…

How To Implement Google’s Responsive Search Ads

Having a hard time deciding what to put into those three Headline fields in the recently updated Expanded Text Ads in Google? Tired of running manual A/B tests on your ad copy? Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) may be the solution you’ve been searching for.

How Responsive Search Ads Work

RSAs are dynamic search ads that adapt to a user’s query through machine learning. Advertisers can enter up to 15 headlines and three descriptions and Google will test out various combinations, learning which perform best over time. Read more after the jump…

The Value of Authenticity – Ft. Rebecca Black

Social media has given users the power to create extensions of themselves within a virtual environment, but at what cost? When the entire world is given a public platform, the lines between reality and perception become increasingly blurred. On episode 2 of Creating Conversations, we examine the darker side of Internet fame and the value of authenticity when dealing with a crisis.

Special Guest: Rebecca Black

Rebecca Black is a renowned artist and YouTuber who unwittingly became an Internet sensation when she was thirteen years old. She has since played an important role in shaping the conversation around cyberbullying and the viral nature of social media.

Read more after the jump…

Our Growing Connectedness: Changes in the Tech Space that you Need to Know About

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rachael-roark-weekly-reads-centertable-our-growing-connectedness-changes-in-techIn this age of being constantly connected, people have come to expect that the information they are looking for is at their fingertips. This edition of Weekly Reads covers how technology giants are continuing to push the envelope in terms of the amount and type of information that is accessible and where it is accessible. We as users are also raising our expectations around the level of transparency that these giants are providing.

Marketing Land: Google Expands Google Assistant Integration

Google announced a slew of new capabilities and integrations for Google Assistant. It will now be able to switch interchangeably between languages and Google is partnering with new third-party smart display and smart speaker companies. There are also a wide range of new connected home devices that will support the assistant such as thermostats, security devices and vacuums. Google is doing this in an effort to continue to increase the advantage that it already has in international markets. Read more after the jump…

3 Tips to Leverage SEO & UX to Rise to the Top of Search Results

SEO and User Experience Best Practices

Search engine optimization (SEO) has become more and more complex over the years. There are hundreds of factors that are taken into consideration within Google’s algorithms. Google is the 800-pound gorilla in the search space – and for good reason – it is the best at providing searchers with the most relevant content as quickly as possible.

At a very high-level, Google rewards those sites that provide searchers with a great user experience (UX) and relevant content. Below you will find tips on how to use the combined power of SEO and UX to rise to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) and compel your audience to complete your desired action(s).

1. Create substantial, valuable, accessible content

  • Target Audience: To dominate the search space within your respective industry, it is critical to understand your target audience’s needs and wants.
    • Content should answer the questions that they have in order to guide them through the buyer’s journey and ultimately complete your desired action(s).
  • Keyword research: Researching popular keywords is an important data-driven way to understand how your target audience is searching for things. Make sure to use this research to inform your content strategy.
    • This process will help create guide posts around the content creation process to ensure that content is centered on relevant topics in the vernacular that users are searching for and ultimately help people find your content.
  • User Experience (UX): It is important from a UX perspective, that key pieces of content along the user journey are easy to find and the layout of the page makes the content digestible and engaging.

Read more after the jump…

Facebook releases new tools to make video creation easier

New Facebook Video ToolsFacebook, attempting to help bridge a gap that may keeping some advertisers from using video in their ads, has rolled out a set of tools to help create mobile-optimzed video ads. After first announcing the tools were coming in July, the platform released a blog with details and timing last week.

In the blog post, Facebook mentioned that “mobile-first creative has a 27% higher likelihood of driving brand lift and 23% higher likelihood of driving message association compared to video ads that are not optimized for mobile.”

Read more after the jump…

Google Expands its Expanded Text Ads … AGAIN!

Sheesh! I take one little vacation and come back to a brand new set of rules for ad copy character limits in Google. These changes to Expanded Text Ads were announced in relation to responsive search ads earlier this month, but they just rolled out this past week – of course while I was floating on a tube in the middle of the Lake of the Ozarks.

The Skinny on the Expanded Expanded Text Ads

Remember back in 2016 when Google went from standard text ads to expanded text ads, adding a second headline, combining two descriptions into one longer description, and adding two URL paths instead of a display URL? Well, they’ve gone and done it again. Read more after the jump…

The New Era of Creative Storytelling (Part 2 of 2)

{Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two-part post focusing on what we’ve learned as social media marketers over the years and what our industry looks like moving forward}

Live journalAs you (hopefully) read in the first part of this post, social media marketing and user behavior have covered a LOT of ground in 15-ish years. First, being able to share written word on the Internet, then the ability to start your own personal web page with photos and music, on to easily being able to create and post content of all kinds online, interacting directly with brands and organizations, and eventually live streaming content that “disappears” after a few seconds. Creative storytelling has never been more complicated. Which brings us to today…

2018: The Modern Age

What is Happening?

Blog period3There’s a TON of noise. And individuals are (successfully) trying to find better ways to receive and organize the information they want. The social media algorithm pendulum has swung from content we wanted/selected, to what the platforms assume we want to see (the echo chamber effect), back toward the content we interact with most often (but definitely NOT chronological, because there’s no money in that). The interesting outcome of the “Hooli Effect” (mentioned in Part 1 of this post), is that individuals are using social platforms the way they want to use them, not necessarily how each platform would want you to use them.

Read more after the jump…

The New Era of Creative Storytelling (Part 1 of 2)

{Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part post focusing on the history and set up of how social media has been used by marketers. Part Two will explore what we’ve learned and what social media marketing looks like moving forward} 

It’s helpful to look back at history and understand how and why things happened before talking about how we can improve our digital storytelling.  This is a social media history tour through the eyes of a guy who has been involved in the industry since the pre-MySpace Days. (Some obvious, but not-as-relevant-to-social-media details have been omitted so this post doesn’t turn into more of a novel than it already is):

Read more after the jump…